New Corinth Baptist

Sumter County
Org 1870
Photography by Steve Robinson

New Corinth Baptist is another African American congregation that was formed shortly after the Civil War.  The church you see here was built in 1870, and even though improvements have been made over time, she is intact and a delight for the eye.  The land for the New Corinth church was originally purchased in 1854 by William Walter Hooks, one of the most prominent cotton planters in Sumter County.  New Corinth was placed on the National Register in 1998 and reports that “William Hooks built the church at that time (1870) using local lumber from his own nearby mill, for which Hooks Mill Road is named. The congregation comprised Hooks’ laborers and their families”.

By 1894, New Corinth reported 294 congregants, making it one of the largest Baptist churches in South Georgia.  At the turn of the century, New Corinth also had a church sponsored school that served the local community until it was disbanded in the 1940s.  Findagrave has documented over 400 interments in the large cemetery that is now partially overgrown with dense vegetation.  The earliest headstone dates back to the early 1900’s but we are certain that there are many unmarked graves in the cemetery that contain people born into slavery or first generation freedmen.  This is not unusual in that headstones were simply unaffordable for many, or even most, rural African Americans in the late 19th century.  Temporary markers such as fieldstones or wooden markers were used and simply disappeared over time.

We are indebted to the congregation of New Corinth for being such good stewards of this important part of Georgia’s history.  They have not only preserved the essential character of the old church, they completed the substantial work required to get her placed on the National Register, where the history of the this 150 year old icon will be preserved for future generations.  Be sure to click and scroll the gallery photos below for more history about New Corinth.